As We See It

Appreciating our Cooperative Extension on its 100th birthday

A view of the Cooperative Extension’s garden at the 215 and Windmill.

The usual twinge of spring panic turned to sweat when the chitalpa trees of a neighboring vacant home had yet to blossom. It wasn’t so dire as the wilting prickly pear of years past, the splitting pomegranates or the browning of the trees in a condo parking lot. But should the chitalpas die, the shade they provide would turn our backyards into furnaces.

And so went the month of April, with the Master Gardener Hotline at University of Nevada’s Cooperative Extension foremost in my mind. Knowing that the experts could clue me in on watering schedules meant that, if needed, I could map out a DIY strategy for the untended trees.

This, of course, would be an easy one for them. They know what grows here, how, when and why, what wastes precious resources and, more importantly, how to calmly troubleshoot.

Relying on them over the years has made me realize the Cooperative Extension is much more than 4-H (which, incidentally, has grown from agricultural themes to include robotics and other math and science programs).

The 100th anniversary of the federal Smith-Lever Act, designed to bring education and research into communities via Cooperative Extension, has programs in each state celebrating their centennial.

In Southern Nevada, experts tackle anything from water conservation to early childhood issues, literacy, nutrition, life skills and youth entrepreneurship, along with science-friendly 4-H programs.

For the rest of us, there are the Master Gardeners and their precious Hotline (702-257-5555), along with a sprawling demonstration garden behind the UNCE offices at 215 and Windmill. For that, we say, happy birthday. May there be many more.

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Kristen Peterson

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